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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 19:58 UK

Neville Powell urges Bangor Euro heroics

UEFA Europa Cup second qualifying round, second leg
Venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham Date: Thu, 22 July Kick-off: 1930 BST
Coverage: Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Sport website


Europa League logo

Neville Powell hailed Bangor City's 1-1 Europa Cup draw in Finland to FC Honka as one the Welsh Premier's finest hours in Europe since its formation in 1992.

Now the Bangor boss has urged his men to set up a third-round showdown with Ireland's Sporting Fingal or Maderia's Portugal League club Maritimo.

Bangor welcome Finnish full-timers Honka to Wrexham's Racecourse Ground on Thursday with Powell hoping for glory.

"I did it as a Bangor player in 1985 when we beat Fredrikstad," said Powell.

"We were massive underdogs, but the boys have done Wales and the league proud and it is probably one of the best results the league has had.

"We wanted to keep the tie alive to bring Honka back to Wales and we have done that with the bonus of an away goal - it is fairytale stuff."

Bangor have enjoyed big European nights against Atletico Madrid, the Spanish giants, and famous Italian side Napoli.

Bangor City badge
Our result is fantastic for Welsh football and it is about time the league got a team through to the third round in Europe

Bangor City manager Neville Powell

But Friday's draw gave them the prospect of facing the League of Ireland Premier Division club or the Madeira-based Portuguese League side.

Debutant Chris Jones was Bangor's goal hero in Honka on Thursday to set-up a now hugely-anticipated second qualifying round second-leg return at Wrexham next week.

Striker Jones equalised Demba Savage's opener after City keeper Paul Smith had saved a Markus Paatelainen penalty.

Bangor are tantalisingly close to the next stage on Friday as the Welsh Cup winners after being alongside some of European football's biggest clubs in Friday's third round draw.

The Citizens were in the same draw as five-time Champions League winners Liverpool but European regulars Sporting Lisbon, Stuttgart and Galatasaray.

Their 1-1 draw in Honka is Bangor's first away positive result in Europe since their Welsh Premier entry in 1992 and is just the ninth time in 75 European trips that a Welsh Premier side has not been beaten.

Llanelli beat Scottish Premier side Motherwell at Fir Park last year before losing the tie on aggregate after a 3-0 defeat in Llanelli.

Llanelli, Rhyl and Carmarthen Town have all won Europa Cup ties and progressed to the second qualifying round - while Barry Town progressed to the Champions League second round in 2001.

But Powell has challenged his Bangor boys to become the first Welsh Premier team to progress to the third qualifying round.

"The boys have kept the tie open against a top professional side who are in the middle of their campaign while this was our first competitive game this season," said Powell.

"A lot of teams could have come here and be turned over five or six nil but we stuck to our game-plan, were professional and Honka were rightly disappointed after the game.

"It sets it up for the return leg in Wrexham fantastically. They are still hot favourites to go through but what a night it promises to be.

"Our result is fantastic for Welsh football and it is about time the league got a team through to the third round in Europe.

"We must start trying to compete with these teams despite the massive disadvantage that they are in the middle of their season.

"We are slowly getting there. Now we have a fighting chance. We have nothing to lose, the pressure is not on us."

But after allowing his players to celebrate in Finland, Powell warned: "The odds are still stacked against us because we are playing a top Finnish side.

"However, if we play like we can, we can cause an an upset.

"What a night it will be at the Racecourse.

"We had 100 fans over here in Finland and hopefully there will be a large turnout next week, the fans should come out as we have a chance of getting into the third round."



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see also
FC Honka 1-1 Bangor City
15 Jul 10 |  Europe
Bangor City 3-2 Port Talbot Town
01 May 10 |  Welsh
TNS secure fifth Welsh Prem title
24 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Bangor City 0-1 FC Honka
23 Jul 09 |  Europe
FC Honka 2-0 Bangor City
16 Jul 09 |  Europe


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